We’ve uncovered quite a few bloggers who had misgivings about certain films that they ended up loving! Thankfully, we got them to share their stories with us in


If you’ve missed any of these enjoyable film memories, click on the appropriate blog name below to link to the blog and read the blogathon entry.


BNoirDetour came to realize that Bogie and Bacall really did have it all in The Big Sleep.

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Moon in Gemini was transformed from film snob to movie populist, courtesy of James Cameron’s The Terminator.


Love Letters to Old Hollywood decided she wanted to have what Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal were having in When Harry Met Sally.

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Serendipitous Anachronisms anticipated a snark-fest and got an engrossing thriller when she watched Richard Boone in the otherworldly I Bury the Living.

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And yours truly got a pleasant surprise in black comedy when I partook of future big-name stars Denis Leary’s and Kevin Spacey’s early career work in The Ref.

We still have two more days to go in our blogathon, so keep us bookmarked for more terrific turnaround stories in cinema!



The month of March is upon us, and with that our lion-to-lamb film blogathon. For the next three days, we take a look at bloggers’ memories of movies that originally got them wound up with apprehension, only to fill them with relief from moviemakers who actually knew what they were doing.

If you are one of the blogging participants, please leave the name and URL of your blog entry in the “Comments” section below, and I will appropriately link to it. Readers, simply click on the links below to read the blogathon entries — and bookmark this site, as we will provide blogathon updates at the end of each day. Enjoy!

Here’s the line-up:

Movie Movie Blog Blog – The Ref (1994)

BNoirDetour – The Big Sleep (1946)

Cinematic Scribblings – The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Old Hollywood Films – Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948)

I Found It at the Movies – The Wild Bunch (1969)

Moon in Gemini – The Terminator (1984)

Love Letters to Old Hollywood – When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Serendipitous Anachronisms – I Bury the Living (1958)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Move Over Darling (1963)

Dell on Movies – Flipped (2010)

THE REF (1994) – Not your ordinary Christmas movie



The following is my entry in my In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from Feb. 28-Mar. 1, 2016. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ accounts of how they attended certain movies with great trepidation, only to be pleasantly surprised by them!


R.I.P., Blockbuster Video.

I never thought I’d write those words. But I have to admit, if you hit that place on the right night, with someone on the floor who really knew his or her movies, it was like getting directed to a rare album selection at Tower Records that you never even knew existed.

One Saturday night, my wife and I were in Blockbuster, wanting to find a fresh comedy but at a complete loss for what to watch. We got all the way to the checkout lane with a half-baked selection, and the cashier could actually see the despair in our eyes. She asked what the problem was. When we told her, she asked, “Have you ever heard of The Ref?”

When we heard the title, my wife and I declared that we weren’t interested in any feel-good football movie. The cashier laughed and told us that the title was simply deceiving. She gave us the movie’s box to look at. Denis Leary? Kevin Spacey? Whoever heard of these guys?

The cashier smiled and assured us that, if we were in the mood for a dark comedy, we should take her word for it and rent the movie. Blessed be that cashier — we can only hope that cashier has gone on to bigger and better things in the movie world.


The movie introduces us to an on-the-rocks couple, Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur (Spacey and Judy Davis), whose bickering is so tumultuous that even their marriage counselor (B.D. Wong) can barely keep it contained. On their way home, it is the Chasseurs’ bad luck to run into Gus (Leary). Gus has tried to pull off what he thought was a simple burglary, but he barely escaped the toothsome clutches of a guard dog, and his alcoholic partner has driven off without him.

Gus holds the Chasseurs at gunpoint, tells them to drive to their home, and holds them hostage there while he tries to figure out how to bail himself out. Meanwhile, the homefront gets even more complicated when the Chasseurs’ spoiled son Jesse arrives home from boarding school.

Oh, and this all occurs on Christmas Eve, which ushers in an enjoyable subplot involving the Chasseurs’ self-absorbed family (led by the sublime Christine Baranski) and some smile-inducing nods to It’s a Wonderful Life and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (wait for it).

So many modern dark comedies are tiresome, not because they have a nasty edge to them, but because they pretend to be hostile while taking a “just kidding” approach because they fear alienating their audience. The Ref serves up its bile straight and black and is at its most delightful when it shatters audience expectations.

Gus thinks all it will take to get out of this mess is a gun and an attitude, but he ends up being the titular referee to this volcanic couple that he can’t shake. And Gus has even more to deal with when Jesse finds more of a father figure in Gus than he does in his own father.

The Ref is simply a delightful surprise all around, right down to the credits. The script is by Richard LaGravenese, who pulled off a similar black-humored miracle with his screenplay for The Fisher King. But the movie’s biggest surprise is that it was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer! How did the masterminds behind Top Gun and Flashdance catch their breath long enough to do a dark, thoughtful character study?

Of course, if you’ve seen the sterling work of cast members Leary, Spacey, Davis, and Baranski in the past two decades, I don’t have to sell you on their work here. The Ref is like a warm-up for their greatest work to come — a very heated warm-up.’s CURATE MY LIFE Flash Blogathon


Looking for something film-related, easy, and fun to do this weekend? Click on the above banner to learn more about and participate in Margaret Perry’s Curate My Life Flash Blogathon, being held this weekend only (Feb. 20-21, 2016) at her website, I think it’s a fantastic idea!

THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) – Nothing but a bad habit


The following is my entry in the You Must Remember This…A Kiss Is Just a Kiss Blogathon, being hosted Feb. 13-14, 2016 by Lesley at the blog Second Sight Cinema. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ ruminations on a variety of kisses that occurred in movies from the dawn of cinema through 1980!


(WARNING: Major spoilers abound!)

It’s shameless, that’s what it is.

The set-up: We’ve spent the movie’s first few minutes learning about Tom and Geraldine “Gerry” Jeffers (Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert). Tom is a failed inventor. Gerry has been perfectly willing to use her feminine wiles to help Tom on the road to success, but Tom wants to make it on his own merits, which is mostly why he’s a failed inventor.


Tom and Gerry have just returned to their New York penthouse after a joyless dinner in which they’ve pondered ending their marriage of five years. Both of them have been imbibing in order to ease the pain, Gerry having imbibed slightly more than Tom.

(“And when love’s gone,” Gerry adds, “there’s nothing left but admiration and respect.” What a terrible thing to have as the only pillar left in your marriage!)


Gerry tries to unzip the back of her dress, but she is in no state to do so. Tom says that if she’ll come around into the light, he’ll help her. Strangely enough, a major portion of that light appears to have fallen into Tom’s lap, since that is where Gerry lands. “You don’t think this is a little intimate, do you?” Tom quietly snarks. “Doesn’t mean anything to you anymore to sit on my lap?”

“No,” Gerry lightly protests.


Tom now has Gerry’s back as a target. It’s too tempting. “Or if I kiss you there? Or here? Or here?” says Tom, planting his lips on a number of biological locations familiar to Gerry. One kiss too many, and Gerry complains, “You know I’m ticklish!”

“Then why is your breath coming faster?”

“Because you’re squeezing me!”


You got that right, sister. One last squeeze, and Tom and Gerry end up in an embrace that literally curls Gerry’s toes and sends Victor Young’s musical score into stringy ecstasy.

“Almost nothing?” Tom reiterates.

With her last ounce of coherency, Gerry agrees, as Tom delivers her up the stairs with the same manful intentions that Rhett Butler had for Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. “Nothing but a bad habit,” Gerry murmurs, and as Gerry keeps coming up with new synonyms for “bad,” the scene quietly fades.

I couldn’t tell you if this scene was the inspiration or template for movie love scenes to come, but if it wasn’t, it should have been. Absolutely shameless — and would that countless other love scenes had been as flawlessly shameless as this one is.

(When it comes to The Palm Beach Story, I am a self-designated cheerleader for this gift from the movie gods. Click here to read my complete review of this beautiful movie.)




The month of March is just around the corner. So it seems appropriate for our blog to usher in the


Think of a movie that you went into or prepared to see — in any format (theater, DVD, cable, rental) — with the gravest of misgivings, only to discover that it was either not that bad or more delightful that you could have imagined. So you began with gruff expectations, only to have your heart melt by movie’s end.

We ask you to share that experience via blog. Maybe start out by explaining why you were unsure about the movie. Was your Significant Other dragging you to see what you thought was a “chick flick”? Had the movie received universally bad reviews, and you went to see it only because nothing else was available? Then give a decent summary of the plot, actors, etc., and why you ended up liking the movie.

Here are the rules:

  1. Please leave me a message in the “Comments” section below that includes the name and URL of your blog, and the name of the movie you choose to write about.
  2. Below are banners to advertise the blogathon. Once you have completed Step # 1, please grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.
  3. The blogathon will take place from Sun. Feb. 28, through Tues., Mar. 1, 2016. Once you have posted your blogathon entry on one of those dates, please post its URL in the “Comments” section so that I can link our blog back to it.

Have fun with your blog entry, and let’s make this blogathon roar! Here’s the line-up so far:

Movie Movie Blog Blog – The Ref (1994)

BNoirDetour – The Big Sleep (1946)

Cinematic Scribblings – The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Old Hollywood Films – Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948)

I Found It at the Movies – The Wild Bunch (1969)

Moon in Gemini – The Terminator (1984)

Love Letters to Old Hollywood – When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Serendipitous Anachronisms – I Bury the Living (1958)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Move Over Darling (1963)

Dell on Movies – Flipped (2010)